I should preface this by saying that I am not of any particular religion, and I use the word “God” here because it’s one that is universally understood. Everyone’s personal version of God may be different, but it really doesn’t matter, which is the point of this blog. God/Goddess,Great Spirit, Brahma, The Unknowable, Krishna, The Universe…..whatever lights your pipe!
One of my spiritual practices has been Bhakti Yoga. This is the Yoga of devotion. To experience it, the chanting of Mantra is the vehicle. The Sanskrit language was designed several thousand years ago for spiritual enlightenment. The seed sounds of the Chakras are contained in the language, as well as the sound of creation, the Om.
To practice Bhakti Yoga, the various names of God are chanted over and over again until the chant takes over a place in the brain and actually rewires it. Instead of all those silly “monkey mind” thoughts, negativities and worries, the spiritual sounds become engrained in the brain (samskaras). A good definition of samskara is imprints left on the subconscious by experiences in past lives, or the present life, which determine and condition one’s desires and actions (Meher Baba). This can be a good or a bad thing. For example, if you continuously are thinking that you are not worthy of love, then an imprint of that negative thought will be left on the brain. Since form follows thought, you will have difficulty manifesting love in your life. If however, you chant love and joy all the time, that is what will manifest. I know, because I’ve experienced it directly.
For many years, chant was (and still is) a daily spiritual practice. I prefer to listen to musical chant, so I have many CDs and downloads of the chant masters such as Krishna Das. At one time, I chanted almost continuously for two weeks. It got to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night with the mantras running through my brain. It was a very blissful time in my life. It culminated in an amazing spiritual experience: I saw God. I was at a live chanting event, singing in the audience with my eyes closed. I began to reach a very deep level of peace and meditation, and in fact felt like I was floating upwards. Deeper and deeper I went, until I saw many different versions of God through all different spiritualities and cultures manifest before me. I saw the Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and more. They appeared before me and moved into me and then moved out. The feeling I had was of great oneness, that we are all one and a part of God. And that it didn’t really matter that people saw God in different ways, that it was really all the same.
I was in a state of total bliss after that incident for at least a week until the daily drudge of my then job brought me back to Earth. It was the most profound thing that had happened to me at that point. It’s hard to convey the feeling I had through words, and here again, the Sanskrit term Samadhi, or the Buddhist, Satori, conveys it best. Samādhi is described in different ways within Hinduism such as the state of being aware of one’s existence without thinking, in a state of undifferentiated “beingness” or as an altered state of consciousness that is characterized by bliss (ānanda) and joy (sukha). (Wikipedia)
It let me know that it’s possible for a human being to reach incredible states of bliss and oneness. When I snapped out of it, it was harder to accept the awful things that go on down here on this planet. But that’s another story.